Like those that carry the standard/battle flag, on the fields of war, Glenn Beck has become the one that Conservatives of all varieties have come to look to for leadership. He has declined the leadership role, but he has accepted the role of the Battle Flag carrier.
If we cannot find a leader to lead us into battle at least we can always trust Glenn to hold that battle flag high for all to see so we can rally our forces and beat back the red tide of Communism.
May God bless and protect Glenn and his family.
Glenn Beck, the popular Fox News host, says he wants to go beyond broadcasting his opinions on television and start rallying his political base — formerly known as his audience — to take action. To do so, Beck is styling himself as a political organizer. He says he will promote voter registration drives and sponsor a series of conventions across the country featuring conservative speakers, all leading up to a rally in Washington in August to coincide with the release of his book on conservative proposals for the country.
In an interview, Beck chose his words carefully about his plans and would not say how directly he might support particular candidates. But he made clear that he intends to help elect politicians aligned with his limited-government world view.
On Saturday he was to hold a campaign-style rally in The Villages in Florida, north of Orlando, and announce his plans. “We’ll be looking for ways to get people involved in politics,” he said in the interview. “I hear people saying, ‘OK, now what?’ They’re calling their representative, but it’s time to get more proactive.”
Beck is not the only media firebrand trying to mobilize Americans disaffected by a Democratic-controlled government. The radio host Laura Ingraham is inviting candidates to sign a 10-point pledge on her Web site. Sean Hannity, on his afternoon radio show and primetime Fox News program this month, has promoted “Conservative Victory 2010,” his name for the map on his site that will spell out questions for candidates.
Pundits have used their media outlets to encourage political action before, but people like Beck, Hannity and the former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who also has a show on Fox News, are taking on outsize roles now, political experts and conservative commentators say. One reason, they say, is the weakened state of the Republican Party.
For the diffuse tea party movement that taps into anti-government sentiments, “the media guys are the closest things we even have to a leader,” said Adam Brandon, the vice president for communications at FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group.
Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, said hosts like Beck were articulating populist sentiments, even if they were not directing decision-making. “They are spokesmen for a movement that you can see emerging,” he said.
These efforts seem reminiscent of the Contract With America pledge made by conservatives during the 1994 elections, though some Republicans who are uncomfortable with media personalities taking on new political roles note that such previous efforts originated with lawmakers.
When asked about Beck at a conference last month, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said: “Here’s what I worry about. How many people in my business are going to be controlled by what’s said on the radio or in a TV commercial?”
Beck rejects the labels like “leader” for himself, saying he is “comfortable with the title of ‘citizen fed up.’ ” While he typically attracts 9 million listeners a week for his radio show, it is unclear whether he could mobilize his supporters into action, or whether it will simply burnish his media brand.
His spokesman said the details of the conventions were still being worked out, but Beck likened them to educational seminars. His staff also would not say whether particular candidates for office in the 2010 elections would be invited to speak at the conventions.
It will not be lost on his supporters that the Saturday rally was held in Florida, where the Republican governor, Charlie Crist, has been sharply criticized by conservatives as he runs for an open seat in the U.S. Senate. Crist’s challenger, Marco Rubio, has already signed the pledge on Ingraham’s Web site, as have a smattering of other conservative candidates.
Already, Beck’s page on FoxNews.com features what it calls “In or Out 2010,” a “simple challenge” for lawmakers. It includes a pledge to back a freeze in government spending; oppose all tax increases “until our economy has rebounded”; and support stricter immigration enforcement.